Despite being a capital city with a population of just over 550,000, Quebec City is a major player in Canada’s food scene. Over 400 years of French heritage, an artisanal ethos, and a farm-to-table-friendly agricultural industry have fostered one of Canada’s most innovative and exciting food cities. From simple, traditional meals like tourtiere, to high-end, multi-course meals, here are the restaurants that are not to be missed.
Opened in 2017, this tiny 20-seat restaurant has already made a name for itself as the place to go in Quebec City for authentic, modern Italian cuisine. Most of the restaurant’s space is taken up by the open kitchen; all the better to watch chefs Guillaume St-Pierre and Paul Croteau prepare your meal. Sommelier Pascal Bussières and server Amélie round out Battuto’s staff to a grand total of four, so it’s no wonder that another appeal of this eatery is the warm welcome and intimate dinner party. All the breads and pastas are homemade and fantastic but don’t overlook the fresh fish dishes—the raw scallops served with buttermilk and melon are incredible.
A mainstay on Quebec City’s culinary scene since 1978, this top-end restaurant continues to stand the test of time. Originally from France, chef Jean Luc Boulay is widely regarded as one of the best chefs in Canada and prides himself on giving classic French cuisine a modern twist. The foie gras, sourced from a local duck farm, is a house specialty and regional meats (including game meat), fish, and cheeses dominate the menu. Be sure to enjoy your meal with a glass of wine or two as the award-winning wine list is extensive. Ask for a reservation in the glass-roofed, atmospheric winter garden room.
For an immersive deep-dive into Quebec cuisine (every single product, aside from the coffee, comes from the province), Restaurant Tanière³ is the hottest ticket in town. The number 3 in the name refers to the restaurant’s number of chef and location changes. Its third iteration finds it in the historic vaults of Place Royale, in the Old Port of Quebec. Adding to its cache, the restaurant only offers a blind tasting of 15 to 20 courses. Guests can choose between eating in the dining room or nab a seat at the counter where they can watch chef François-Emmanuel Nicol put his culinary genius into action before their very eyes. Be warned: You’ll need to book months ahead of time.
Without a doubt, if you want to experience a taste bud-expanding extravaganza you won’t soon forget, Laurie Raphaël is the place to go. Chef Daniel Vézina, one of Quebec City’s first chefs to lead the locavore movement, presents guests with a choice of a seven- or 11-course menu. It’s one of the few restaurants in the city where you can regularly find molecular gastronomy creations and Vézina’s stunning plating is second to none. If you’re feeling flush, go for the wine pairings and discover for yourself why the restaurant earned a Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence.
It’s worth the 20-minute drive outside the city to the Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations in Wendake for the novel chance to sample First Nation food. Chef Olivier Bernadet highlights Huron-Wendat First Nation staples like deer, boar, juniper, birch syrup, and wild mushrooms in thoughtfully prepared three-, four-, and six-course tasting menus. The decor adds to the meal, with a wood-burning stove, tree trunks like barren totem poles, and deer antlers above the bar, giving the impression that you’ve been invited to dine at a hunting lodge.
The culinary credo at this restaurant is to pay homage to Quebec’s “terre, forêt, and fleuve” (terroir, forest, and rivers) by a strict adherence to serving only provincially sourced meat and produce. Chef Émile Tremblay’s explores Quebec’s rich culinary history and brings it to life through food. The menu at Légende change with each season but mainstays are the foie gras, elk carpaccio, foraged mushrooms, and monkfish from the St. Lawrence River.
Le Clocher Penché Bistrot
A beloved local favorite in Quebec City’s hip St-Roch neighborhood, Le Clocher Penché Bistrot showcases a slow, artistic approach to food that celebrates a food’s colors and textures, as much as its taste. The restaurant relies on sourcing its products from hyper-local, artisanal cheese makers and organic farmers who are highlighted on the restaurant’s website. The homemade blood pudding with a hint of maple syrup would tempt even the most dedicated vegetarian. Go for brunch and dive into a plate of pancakes stuffed with duck confit.
Chef Stéphane Modat (who won Quebec’s Chef of the Year in 2019) is at the helm of Restaurant Champlain, the upscale French eatery at the city’s most iconic hotel, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. The menu is an intriguing mix of Asian, European, and South American influences all thoughtfully blended with regional ingredients. Guests can choose from a la carte or a tasting menu. Rather unexpectedly for a fine-dining establishment, the restaurant has one of the best kids’ menu in town, making it ideal for families.
Located in the stylish boutique hotel Auberge Saint-Antoine, which overlooks the St. Lawrence River, Chez Muffy manages to be upscale but homey. Housed in a historic 1800s warehouse with original stone walls and wood beams, the ambiance-rich, rustic-chic setting amplifies the warm, farm-inspired menu. The restaurant presents modern Quebec food at its finest with an elevated version of tourtiere that features duck and Rouennaise sauce, as well as roasted duckling with daikon and sea buckthorn.
Aux Anciens Canadiens
Don’t let Aux Anciens Canadiens popularity with tourists dissuade you from giving it a try. Built in 1675, the restaurant is located in the oldest home in the city—don’t be surprised if you have to duck to get through the door. Inside, each of the small five rooms is full of character with original furnishings and even the servers are dressed in period garb, making it easy to believe you’ve stepped back in time. The menu is equally as evocative, with dishes representing the epitome of Quebec comfort cuisine like baked beans with maple syrup, meat pie, and caribou.
You can’t leave Quebec City without trying the crepes at Billig, run by a couple from Brittany, France, the crepe capital of the world. This low-key, affordable, family-friendly bistro is all about emphasizing the fun in food. Both sweet and savory crepes (known as galettes and made from buckwheat flour) are available, as is cider from Quebec and Brittany. Add some sizzle to a meal with a flaming crepe with poached pears. This place gets especially busy for dinner so be prepared to line-up for a table.
No trip to Quebec City would be complete without sampling some of the region’s award-winning artisanal ale, which consistently ranks as among the best in the world. La Korrigane is one of the most popular brew pups in the city, as much for its food as for its incredibly creative brews. All the beers feature carefully sourced or foraged ingredients that come directly from the surrounding forests and farms, like local honey, blueberries, or maple syrup. There’s a lovely outdoor terrace in the summer.
Le Chic Shack
If you’re looking for some of the best poutine—the quintessential Quebecois dish of fries, cheese curds, and gravy—in the city, casual and friendly Chic Shack has got your covered. This burger joint offers several varieties of poutine like the Forestière with mushroom ragout, parmesan, cheese curds, and herbs, and the Braisée with ale-braised beef, curds, pickled onions, and horseradish aioli. Their burgers and homemade milkshakes are also splendid.